Bill Belichick lauds Patriots Pro Bowl selections

Special teams captain Matthew Slater extended his NFL record for Pro Bowl selections to nine, when he was selected to the 2021 Pro Bowl Monday night.
During a conference call Tuesday, Patriots head coach Bill Belichick was asked about Slater’s place in the history of football with regard to special-teams play and his impact.
“Got to be at the top,” Belichick said. “I can’t think of anybody that’s done more than he has and he’s done it over a very consistent period of time at an extremely high level in addition to all the other qualities he brings off the field, leadership, just doing the right thing, the person and the human being that he is . . . he’s a great teammate. Just outstanding in all areas.
“It would be hard for me imagining anyone going ahead of him,” Belichick went on. “We’ve had some great players here, and I’ve had some great players throughout my career with Cleveland, going back to the Giants, but he’s certainly the very best I’ve ever been around . . . his consistency is outstanding, but he factors in on a lot of plays.”
The Patriots had three players selected overall. Along with Slater, cornerback Stephon Gilmore and punter Jake Bailey earned Pro Bowl status.
For Gilmore, it was his third straight Pro Bowl nod, and fourth overall, while second-year punter Bailey made it for the first time.
He currently ranks second in the NFL in net punt average at 46.1 yards. He’s also been effective with his situational punting, dropping punts inside the 20 yard line.
Belichick lauded Bailey not only for his punting ability, but everything else he does that comes along with it, be it kicking off, or holding for field goals.
“He’s had an outstanding season. He does such a great job of, really, everything,” said Belichick. “Kickoffs, holding, he’s been a part of Nick’s (Folk) consistency as well. Of course his punting, he’s got the big leg and the ability to change field position but also situational punthing . . . he does a lot of little things that are really important to the success of our special teams units. He’s had an outstanding year. The punting is obvious, but there’s a lot of little things too that he does a great job on.”
While center David Andrews was the leading vote-getter at his position in the AFC, he didn’t make the final cut. Pro Bowl selections are annually determined by a combination of fan, player and coach votes.
Andrews has still had a great year, coming back from missing the entire 2019 season with blood clots on his lungs.
“David is one of our most dedicated and unselfish players. He adds a lot to our team both on and off the field,” said Belichick. “His last year, one of the most impressive things about last year was how he really never missed anything. He was in every meeting, every practice, at the games . . . . was really a part of everything we did and added a lot. I think that speaks to his unselfishness and commitment to the team.”
 
 
 

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